Former Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged in an interview aired Sunday that the Obama administration was "flat-out wrong" that the health insurance exchanges created by the new health care law would be ready on Oct. 1 of last year.
Sebelius, who stepped down last week after serving as President Obama's health secretary following the botched roll-out of the main coverage provision of Obamacare, also said that "there's no question -- and I've said this many times -- that the launch of the [Obamacare exchange] website was terribly flawed and terribly difficult." As late as a week before enrollment through the healthcare.gov website was supposed to begin on Oct. 1 of last year, White House officials were saying that the site would be ready to go.
Sebelius nevertheless defended the administration's handling of the episode, saying that people were able to sign up for insurance within eight weeks. Those eight weeks, she admitted, were a "pretty dismal time" for her.
She added that the American health care system was broken before Obamacare: "If you were healthy and wealthy, you could get coverage. If you weren't, you were pretty much on your own if you didn't work for the right company. So that was fixed."
Speaking with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Sebelius dodged the question of whether Obama forced her out. She claimed that she approached the president in March and told him that after the end of the first open enrollment period, which ended on April 1, he "really should begin to look for the next secretary, who can be here through the end of your term. And that really wasn't a commitment I was willing to make. And he knew that."